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Full text of "The Cambridge Natural History"

THE PONGO OF BATTEL

Apart from the doubtful " Pongo " and " Engeco " of Andrew
Battel, our first intelligence concerning the Gorilla is due to Dr,
Savage, after whom, indeed, the late Sir Bichard Owen called the
animal Troglodytes savagei, a name which has to be abandoned
in favour of an earlier name.
The Gorilla is limited in its distribution to the forest tract of
the Gaboon. It goes about in families, with but one adult male,
who later has to dispute his position as leader of the band with
another male, whom he kills or drives away, or by whom he is
killed or driven away. The animal is said to make a nest in a
tree like the Orang ; but this statement has been questioned.
It feeds upon the berries of various plants, and upon other
vegetable substances ; there is apparently not so marked an
inclination for animal food as is exhibited by the Chimpanzee.
In search of their food they wander through the forest, walking
partly upon the bent hand, and progressing with a shuffling gait.
It is noteworthy that the Gorilla has been said to walk upon the
palm of the hand and not upon the back, as is the case with the
Chimpanzee. It can readily assume the upright posture, and,
in this case., balances itself largely with its arms. Professor
Hartmann, however, states that the back of the hand is also used.
Unlike most or many wild beasts, the Gorilla exhibits no desire
to run away when he views a human enemy. Dr. Savage
remarks that " when the male is first seen, he gives a terrific yell,
that resounds far and wide through the forest, something like
kh-ah ! kh-ah ! prolonged and shrill." This is accompanied by
offensive tactics, which the natives do not willingly encounter.
When making an attack the Gorilla rises to his feet, and as a
full-grown animal reaches a height of some five feet, he is a most
formidable antagonist. The attack of one of these animals is said to
be made with the hand, with which he strikes his adversary to the
ground, and then uses the powerful canines. The beating of the
breast which heralds an attack is a statement made by M. du
Chaillu. It has been denied with a vigour and asperity quite
incommensurate with the importance of the matter.1
The Chimpanzees, genus ^Lnthropoyithecus (or Troglodytes}, are
1 For accounts of tlie habits of the Gorilla, compiled from various sources, see
Hartma^n's te Anthropoid Apes," International Sdent, Ser. London, 1885 ; H.
O. Forbes, "Monkeys," in Allen's Naturalists' Series, London, 1894 ; and Huxley,
*' Man's Place in Nature," voL vii. of Collected Essays, London, 1894.